Based in the historic town of Dumfries, Queen of the South is one of the most recognisable names in Scottish football.
The second division side suffered the heartbreak of relegation last season but they look to have found some of the form that saw the Doonhamers reach the Scottish Cup final in 2008.
Ironically the club is thought to be the only side to have a reference in the Bible, in which Luke 11:31 states that “The Queen of the South shall rise up at the judgement with the men of this generation…”
Be it through divine intervention or just good football, Chairman Billy Hewitson will be hoping this is the season his club rises back up through the leagues. Football Focus asked him how things are going so far this season.
“We hope to be challenging at the top of the league for promotion come the end of this season. We have proved very competitive to the start of the season and hope to continue to do so.
“This season are main goal is to gain promotion. It was a gamble to remain full time in the 2nd Division but is one we felt was vital for giving the club the best chance of returning back to the 1st division. Moving forward from this is to establish ourselves in the league and improve season on season. Off the field we are looking into an indoor 3G facility and other large-scale improvements to Palmerston Park.”
The 6,412 capacity Palmerston Park has seen some great Scottish players grace its turf over the past century, including the likes of Andy Aitkin, Dave Halliday and club record appearance holder Allan Ball. Hewitson believes that it is in the youth system at Queen of the South that the future stars can be produced, and holds the key to the clubs future success.
“Our youth program is vitally important to the football club. At present we have 7 local players whom have graduated from our youth system in our 1st team squad, some of which are holding down regular place in the starting eleven.”
He continues, “The coaching staff does a great job of blending youth and experience, which is shining through this season.”
In the wake of the highly publicised financial difficulty in the Scottish leagues, which has seen the plight of arguably its greatest side in Rangers, Queen of the South have managed to stay secure in terms of its finances, something the club is looking to ensure continues.
“The biggest challenge to any football club remains to be financial. With falling attendances non-footballing activities need to be found to make up the short fall. We need to make the asset of the stadium work for the club and we are constantly reviewing finances and looking at ways to improve them.
“Visiting fans are situated in the newest stand within Palmerston Park that holds modern amenities. But the appeal of our ground is still that it hosts a very popular terracing area. We are constantly looking for ways to improve the facility and this season we have put in a new club shop and ticket offices.
“I think now in Scottish football there is no other option but to try and maximise commercial opportunities although in this present financial climate it can be a difficult task. The club employs a full time commercial team but at present we are restricted with facilities to host any reasonable corporate business.”
Hewitson is a Chairman who recognises the importance of fans in the success of his club, and the greatest way to reward their continued support is through positive work within the community.
“Queen of the South FC are an extremely community orientated club. We employ a full time community coach, Jim Thomson, who delivers a program five days a week to schools within Dumfries & Galloway. This program promotes healthy living, confidence and team spirit. Along with this we are involved in many other community projects which should benefit the club in the future.”